Concert Series
Hispanic Woman Composers: The Salon of Leonora Duarte (1610-1678)

Performed by Sonnambula

Jude Ziliak & Toma Iliev, violin | Elizabeth Weinfield, Amy Domingues, and Shirley Hunt, viola da gamba | James Kennerley, harpsichord

The concert will feature the music of Leonora Duarte (1610-1678), a Portuguese-Jewish Converso living and working in Antwerp, and the only known woman to write for the viola da gamba in the 17th century. The concert will be performed by the ensemble Sonnambula (hailed as “superb” by The New Yorker), following the release of the first complete recording of Leonora Duarte’s work (Sonnambula, Centaur Records; 2017). At the end of the seventeenth century, Leonora Duarte published seven Sinfonias for viol consort — the only known seventeenth-century viol music written by a woman. This music is testament to a formidable talent for composition.

Born in Antwerp to a prominent family of merchants and art collectors (friends of Ruckers, Vermeer, and possibly Rubens), Duarte received a superb musical education that included instruction on the viol, harpsichord, and lute, as well as lessons in composition. Duarte’s musical evenings at home with her siblings quickly became well-known ports of call for traveling diplomats and literati, among them Constantijn Huygens, Dutch poet Anna Roemers Visscher, composer Nicholas Lanier, and singer Anne de la Barre. However, as both a Jew and a woman, Duarte received no commissions from church or court, and thus the existence of the published Sinfonias presents a remarkable opportunity to consider music within the domestic sphere.

This concert will consider Duarte’s extant works as products of her interactions with a vibrant, urban community; as evidence of a complex and symbiotic relationship with her male contemporaries; and as vital testimony to the cultural accomplishments of women Converso from the Iberian diaspora. Sonnambula’s artistic director, Elizabeth Weinfield, will deliver a lecture about Leonora Duarte prior to the concert.

Thursday, December 21, 2017. Doors open at 6:15pm. Lecture at 6:30pm. Concert at 7:00pm American Academy of Arts and Letters. 633 West 155th Street. New York, NY 10032


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council , Spain Culture New York-Consulate General of Spain and New York State Council on the Arts.